Today (Feb. 23), it was announced that disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly would face 20 years in prison related to sex crimes involving children. The 56-year-old is already serving a 30-year sentence from 2021 for activities with minors, according to CNN.
The verdict was read in a federal courtroom in Chicago by United States District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber. Kelly, who has been plagued with rumors of pedophile behaviors for decades, is under investigation for multiple crimes. Leinenweber noted that 19 years of his 20-year prison sentence would be served concurrently. “Robert Kelly is a serial sexual predator who, over the course of many years, specifically targeted young girls and went to great lengths to conceal his abuse of Jane and other minor victims. To this day, and even following the jury verdict against him, Kelly refuses to accept responsibility for his crimes,” prosecutors shared in court documentation.
In 2021, Kelly stood before a judge in a New York federal courtroom where he was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking charges. The “I Believe I Can Fly” artist is serving a “de facto life sentence” for that case. A statement previously released by his attorneys read, “In the unlikely event that Kelly was to survive his 30-year sentence, there is no reason to believe he would reoffend as a geriatric in his mid-80s.” They added, “The overwhelming majority of Kelly’s criminal conduct was committed a quarter century ago.”
During the proceedings, a witness claimed Kelly approached her when she was just 14 years old and they began having sex when she turned 15. By the time the victim, whose identity was withheld, reached 18, the pair reportedly had inappropriate relations “hundreds” of times. The Chicago native became an instant sex symbol in the 90s, and with hits like “Bump And Grind,” much of his career glorified intercourse. In addition to his prison sentences, streaming services have also removed his songs from their platforms. As today’s news continues to spread, social media users are debating on whether they can separate the crime from his craft. A tweet asked if fans would still listen to his music, to which one person responded, “NO. I refuse to listen to his music at all. It repulses me now that I know what he was really singing about,” in reference to the “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number” crooner.